Deep into the rehearsal period now, we are all enjoying exploring the many issues affecting our characters and debating the themes of the play. Having always had a thing for ancient mythology and religion, half hoping in some cases, but preferring to stay open minded about the whole thing, my mind took a wander down the mystical route today so I thought I'd share one of my many ponderences (my own word) on one of the themes in this play. The idea of an afterlife is old news. Debated throughout time, used both as a fear monger and a comfort, it conjures up strong views on both sides and I find the terminology plays a big part. A lot depends on your religious views of course but across the board, my own experiences have found that the term angel is more readily accepted than ghost.
As the title suggests, one of the topics 'Entertaining Angels' touches on is the existence of angels vs the delirium of a grieving individual. An interpretation could even be entertaining the idea of angels.. but I digress (I'm good at that)! For the sake of argument and without intending offence to the playwright Richard Everett, I believe his description to be wrong. I think what we have here is a ghost, not an angel.
Not claiming to be an expert, I think most modern day ideas of angels would be of soft, feathery, smiley things with harps or chubby babies in loin clothes. A trusty Wikipedia search however, reveals just how wrong we are. According to Abrahamic religions, angels are defined as 'spiritual beings superior to humans both in power and intelligence', 'benevolent and dreadful'. Not so smiley and soft now. In fact the more you look into it, the more the stone angels from Doctor Who spring to mind and you only have to read some of the descriptions in religious texts to get the idea.
Ghosts on the other hand are the 'residual spirit of a dead being', typically 'haunting particular locations or people'. Often linked to all the scary stuff, they are also frequently described as peaceful onlookers and are, in my opinion, a much more fitting description of Bardy, our 'angel'. Grudgingly though I will admit that he has the whole heaven-earth crossover thing down, the term fits with the religious references in the play and entertaining angels sounds a lot catchier than entertaining ghosts!
Whatever the final description agreed upon, it is hoped that our depiction causes no upset to our suspected theatre ghost. Although to my knowledge there have been no sightings, suspicions have been raised for years by strange noises after hours, those few specific spots on the stage creaking when no one is there and more recently I notice, the female bathroom light coming on when the theatre is empty (ladies beware)! No Exorcist style occurrences during rehearsals yet though - so far so good!
So there you have it, my thought for the day. Whether you believe in an afterlife or not this play is definitely one to make you think, laugh, cry and hopefully enjoy! I hope to see you there and I am always up for a discussion in the bar afterwards!
Kate Davies, Nov 30, 2016